In the early 20th century, people living in the Tennessee Valley began making hamburgers with ground meat and extenders of soybean meal to cut food cost. This practice gained popularity during the Great Depression. This legacy food continues to present day in a wide belt of communities along the river in Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee.
Corinth, Mississippi hosts an annual Slugburger Festival and is widely thought to be the capitol city of this regional delicacy. My brother, nephew and I visited Borroum’s Drug Store in the Corinth Town Square to discover the essence of slugburgers on our way to Atlanta. Borroum’s opened in 1865 as a pharmacy and soda fountain decades before the advent of slugburgers.
Our young waitress proved an able slugburger ambassador to our table. I first read about slugburgers in publications from the Southern Foodways Alliance, but I wanted my brother and nephew to learn from someone with authority. Borroum’s charges $1.75 for a slugburger which is pressed thin, deep fried in hot oil, and served on a plain white bun with sliced white onion, pickles and mustard. You can order chips, fries, tator tots and other sides from the menu. It’s common to order more than one slugburger since they tend to be eaten like sliders.
The slugburger patty is crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. The flavor of the slugburger reminds me of bland soy burgers served by my high school cafeteria. The sandwich would completely lack appeal without the mustard, onion and pickle. My sandwich seemed a bit dry, so I was grateful for the bottle of yellow mustard on the table. Let’s not put on airs. Slugburgers made from inexpensive sources of animal and vegetable protein satisfy your appetite, but leave you wondering why you didn’t spend a few extra bucks for a tastier all beef burger. ⭐️⭐️
I’m glad we tried the slugburger and would introduce others to this regionally significant sandwich when passing through Corinth. Borroum’s is a charming space steeped in history and deserves applause for keeping the legacy of this regional treat alive.